Professor Monroe Street
Essay 2 Draft
In every story, there seems to be qualities and characteristics that make a story unique. There may be similarities and differences that enable readers to compare and contrast between two different stories. Language, form, literary elements & techniques, structure, etc. , can be factors in discovering the uniqueness of a specific text. Something that is unique is considered different and stands out from the ordinary. Two pieces of text such as, “The Money” by Junot Diaz and “The Purloined Letter” by Edgar Allen Poe will be analyzed and compared to find what makes these texts unique and discover their similarities and differences.
The text, “The Money”, by Junot Diaz is about a Dominican family that immigrated to the United States. Though they are in a wealthier country, Diaz and his family are burdened by poverty. With the small amount of money they get, they still have to send some money back to support their grandparents in Dominican Republic. While away on vacation. One of Diaz’s friends breaks into their house and steals Diaz’s Mom’s secret stash of money. Diaz’s friends found out about the stash of money from a conversation he had with Diaz when hanging out together. His so called “friends” secretly despise Diaz without his knowing and talk about him behind his back. When Diaz and his family return from vacation, they find the stash of money missing, and their door was unlocked. During another conversation between Diaz and his friend, he gets a feeling that his friend stole the money because of his behavior. Diaz then breaks into his friend’s house and takes back his mom’s stolen money.
Diaz writes, “I, who could take the change out of my mother’s purse without thinking, couldn’t have brought myself even to look at that forbidden stash”. Diaz also writes, “And if mine had been a normal neighborhood this is when the cops would have been called and my ass would be caught burglarizing”. Finally he states, “I popped up the dolt’s mattress and underneath I found my D. & D. books and most of my mother’s money…And that was how I solved the Case of the Stupid Morons”. When analyzing the first quote, we could see that the thought of stealing came through Diaz’s head regarding his mother’s money from the phrase, “I, who could take the change out of my mother’s purse…”, and the phrase “…my ass would have been caught burglarizing “. These phrases show how thievery is universal in everyone when the opportunity presents itself. Diaz uses the word “burglarizing” to emphasize that no matter if the money was his to begin with, stealing is stealing. Diaz had a thought of stealing his mother’s money but hesitated when realizing the consequences of those actions. Thievery seems to be the primary repetition in this passage.
This passage is uniquely written because it displays both the good and bad sides of burglary. It also showed the perspective of what people are willing to do when an opportunity is given to them. Being poor and in poverty makes people desperate and negative. The fact that the story is written in Junot Diaz’s perspective shows us how he was thinking, and also displays to the reader the significance of his mother’s money. Since we know that his family sends money back to Dominican Republic even though they are poor, that helps readers to see how valuable the stolen stash of money was to his mother because they were already struggling to pay bills.
One event that strictly stands out from the other parts of this text is the mother’s emotionless reaction after Diaz, her son, retrieve her stolen cash. This part of the story was very unique due to the fact that Diaz’s mother placed a high value of importance on her stash of money. I would’ve expected her to have a more joyous and grateful reaction after having the money back in her possession since they were tight on money. In the last passage of “The Money”, Diaz states, “It took me two days to return the money to my mother. The truth was I was seriously considering keeping it. But in the end the guilt got me”. This is the second time Diaz accuses himself of thievery without committing to the action of stealing. Diaz states, “Except that a couple of days later I was moaning about the robbery to these guys I was hanging with at that time and they were cursing sympathetically…”. The repeating theme expressed by this passage is the accusation of thievery. Being that Diaz trusted these “two dopes”, people he considered friends, their odd behavior led him to believe that they were the ones that stole the money. The irony is that he uses the words “cursing sympathetically” to describe their attempt to avoid suspicion. It’s unique how the outer appearance of Diaz’s friends displays innocence, but we know internally that they are guilty. Also, it’s unique how Diaz was able to write a passage that portrays how his friends’ body language compromised their innocence.
Majority of communication between people is nonverbal, and even the words themselves have little meaning until they are said with a specific tone or emphasis. It’s the way someone portrays themself not just their appearance alone. The play on who’s innocent or guilty makes this passage much more unique than the rest of the story. It shows how a person’s dialogue is not always a full representation of their actions. Why would a so-called “friend”steal from his “friend” that shows nothing but trust and kindness? How can a person look another individual in the face and be able to pretend to be in their best interest at heart, but secretly despise that person of whom they see everyday? Diaz was very successful in showing thievery in the good and bad characters. These creations acknowledge that on both sides of poverty, people, good or bad, are all capable of thievery if given the opportunity to benefit from it.
In Edgar Allen Poe’s, “The Purloined Letter”, a valuable letter is stolen from Paris’ royal apartments. The Prefect Monsieur G and the Parisian Police search the entire premises and fail to find the stolen letter in Minister D’s hotel. Monsieur G increases the reward to 50,000 francs a month later to whoever can find the letter. Detective Minister D. Dupin requests Monsieur G to sign him the check and then hands him the valuable letter.
One repeated theme from “The Purloined Letter” is that a valuable item is missing and then retrieved back into the owner’s possession. There is a passage in the story where Minister D finds the letter even after the expert detective and police failed to recover it. This is a unique part of the text because Minister D proceeds to explain his way of thinking that led him to the letter. He strategizes in his mind using a specific type of logic, and shows how the letter was hidden in plain sight. The Prefect was so busy trying to look in places where things are hidden rather than obvious locations. For example, “”
In both of these passages, something of value and importance is taken from someone’s property, but then gets retrieved back to its rightful owner. This repetition can also be conjoined by the action of thievery. Meaning that both passages contain a level of burglary in order to steal and retrieve the stolen items.
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